Caitlin "Cait" Shields '11 April 27, 2020 11:31 AM updated: May 5, 2020 11:40 AM
Aggies helping Aggies: For over 140 years, and continuing now, The Association provides help in time of need. From helping A&M professors take their classes online and keeping student workers on the payroll, to making sure a student could stay enrolled and the sudden need to put Muster online-only for the first time in history, Association donors make it possible.
Texas A&M’s annual Aggie Muster brought the Aggie Network closer than ever when the tradition moved online this year, allowing for interaction with Aggies across the globe and livestreams from A&M Clubs.
Because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, some local Musters were postponed, and others were canceled or converted to online events, but Muster organizers at all levels worked hard to ensure the tradition continued and that the name of every Aggie on the roll was called and answered with “Here” on April 21.
Almost 50,000 people logged on to MusterLive.AggieNetwork.com on Aggie Muster Day to connect with other Aggies and remember those we lost. Attendees were able to watch The Association of Former Students' Worldwide Roll Call for the Absent and campus and local Muster ceremonies from around the world, as well as answer "Here" for and upload photos and memories of those on the roll call. The site also featured a number of stories about this unique Aggie tradition, including a previous Muster during which Aggies were also not able to meet in person. The Class of '70, which is celebrating 50 years since leaving Aggieland, was also honored.
Muster Live by the numbers:
Uniting in Spirit
Plans to integrate the varied ceremonies started a few weeks ago after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 virus a global pandemic, prompting Texas A&M to move its 69,000-plus students online while most state governments — including Texas — asked their residents to stay home to stop the spread.
Without an end in sight to the public health crisis, both The Association of Former Students and the 30-member student Muster Committee began thoughtful conversations about how to still honor the spirit of Muster and create the feeling of togetherness, while remembering the Aggies who passed.
At the same time, The Association was working to convert its Worldwide Roll Call for the Absent — reading and answering “Here” for each one of more than 1,500 names on the annual roll — into an online event, assisted by more than 60 volunteers from around the world.
Working collaboratively with Texas A&M University, these groups created Muster Live to host virtual ceremonies and to offer a space for Aggies to connect. This would not have been possible without generous donors to The Association's Century Club. See other ways our donors support Muster here.
“The Aggie Spirit prevails in spite of the disruption our world is experiencing,” Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III '79 said. “Thanks to a collaboration between The Association of Former Students, A&M Clubs, the campus Muster committee and Texas A&M University, Aggies around the world [could] join us from the safety of their homes in answering ‘Here’ for every Aggie on the worldwide Muster roll.”
Read more about the Muster Live site here.
Despite not being able to gather in person, many Aggies contributed to Muster this year and participated on the day.
The Association of Former Students put out a call for Aggies to send in videos of them singing "The Spirit of Aggieland" to create this special rendition of the song.
Many Texas A&M Clubs hosted their ceremony virtually. "Muster lives on regardless of the circumstances," said Kevin G. Troller '79, Baytown Area A&M Club Muster chair. "We’ve encouraged all of our members to stay connected, to pick up the phone and share Muster with another Aggie. Call out the names of those we know that have passed; and continue to answer 'Here.' It will all be done differently this year; but it will be done."
Aggies participated from across the world.
Dozens of volunteers still gave their time contributing to The Association's Worldwide Roll Call for the Absent.
Many Aggies expressed their delight that this essential tradition was still observed despite the challenges the world is facing.
You can still visit and rewatch all ceremonies at MusterLive.AggieNetwork.com.